The Coming Attraction

Abandoned movie theatre: sound and image buried in dust. A waft of light spills over broken seats of wood and steel in front of a disintegrated screen; as though still waiting for the film to begin. Hidden on their armrests are engraved initials of a first lover. Curtains that were once colored decorate the ceiling, rotten and collapsed. Cracked drawers. Broken lights.

A quarter century ago, Wahbi Cinema, in the Helmeyya neighborhood of Sayyeda Zeinab in Cairo, was closed down. The falafel shops closed, too, and the ice cream and candy kiosks. The cassette tape shops closed, and the clothes and perfume shops. Nothing remains near the abandoned hall but a stubborn cafe that hasn't yet shut down, and whose patrons remain, silent, in front of the cold tea... awaiting the coming feature. Nothing remains but tired tables and chairs, yellow backgammon dice, and bitter tea.

As enthusiasts raided Wahbi Cinema, they broke the steel door locked with steel chains and saw the size of the destruction with their own eyes. Cairo - Wahbi Cinema - became the project of the youth: the restoration of the dream, and the spaces of freedom and creativity. Will they succeed?